Guess Who Stayed Home While His Wife Went to Go See New Kids on the Block: at Barclays Center, 6/16/13

on Jun 18, 2013
I may not be a father, but I certainly wasn't the only husband in the greater New York City area left at home on Father's Day while their wife snuck out to see The Package tour, the 90's boy band event of the year at Brooklyn's preeminent rusty bird's nest, the Barclays Center.

When I was a fourth grader just tryna get by at the height of the Hangin' Tough era, seeing the overpowering effect it had on the bedroom walls of the few girls I vaguely associated with at the time, I gave no thought to the quintet's temporality one way or the other. As perception of time goes at that age, it seemed fair to assume that they might be around for a long, long while. Given another year, of course, it appeared the opposite was certain. Now, it looks like my first impression might have been closer to the truth, not counting what we'll refer to as their "wilderness years" of 1995 - 2007, during which one can safely assume they were all living off the land together in the Massachusetts wilderness. If such a place exists(?).

There we were, on the Bolt bus coming back from Philadelphia on Sunday morning, when my wife, J, got a text from her friend, A. A had won tickets to the NKOTB/98 Degrees/Boyz II Men concert, and needed a cohort to brave the spectacle with. J was reluctant at first, but, after some "Are you kidding? Don't let a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness crazy badness like this pass you by!" goading on my part, she was persuaded. We checked the internet and found a somewhat troubling abundance of $5 tickets for the concert. We guessed that not just her friend had won tickets, but also everyone who entered the contest. (Also, just to note, there's no real reason why I'm half-assedly protecting J and A's anonymity here other than trying to keep them from becoming internet-search-affiliated with 90's boy bands.)

Once J and A finally made it to the arena, J's encroaching fear of sad old men singing to a sad sparse audience was quickly squashed by what she later described as the "frenetic energy" pulsing through the very crowded stands. As J's photo reports from the front began to trickle in, the captions went from distanced observations like "crowd is 99% women, some preggers" (leaving me shocked that a full 1% of the crowd could be comprised of men) to, eventually, what I had been expecting all along at some point: "OK, I'm glad you made me go." Really though, my powers of persuasion are nothing compared to that of NKOTB's hits like "You Got It (the Right Stuff)," which are, apparently, now and forever.

Also, as mentioned, 98 Degrees performed. They happened way too late in the 90's for me to actually know any of their songs, but that's them on the left with their custom-built blue-light-special mic stands. Boyz II Men were, unfortunately, too punctual, and J missed them. This was a sincere disappointment. Boyz II Men were the bee's knees in the way-back-when, and remain the top selling R&B group of all time. I'm pretty sure they still get a commission off all bear skin rug and Duraflame log sales in the contiguous United States. Poignantly, while in Philadelphia earlier that weekend, I enjoyed my first official Philly cheesesteak.